Reliance Part of Modi Govt’s ‘New Formula’: What Hollande Told AFP
(This article has been updated to reflect former French President Francois Hollande’s full statement to news agency AFP.)
On Friday, 21 September, several Indian news websites, including The Quint, published former French President Francois Hollande’s statement to news agency Agence-France Press (AFP), in which it seemed he was “unaware” whether India had put pressure on Reliance and Dassault to work together. In the same statement, he seemed to have told AFP that "only Dassault can comment on this."
However, as it turns out, that wasn’t Hollande’s full statement on what he told AFP on the Modi government’s hand in orchestrating the Reliance-Dassault tie-up in the Rafale deal.
Hollande actually reaffirmed his statement that the Modi government had proposed Anil Ambani’s Reliance as a partner for Dassault.
What Hollande Actually Told AFP
This statement made by Hollande, that the Ambani-led Reliance Group was part of a “new formula” for the Rafale deal that was put forth by the Modi government, alone appears contradictory to the government’s claim that it had nothing to do with Dassault’s decision to go with Reliance.
While the second part of Hollande’s statement, also quoted by the news agencies on Friday, where he said he was “unaware” whether India put pressure for the Reliance Group to work with Dassault, neither confirms nor denies the same allegation, it suggests two things:
- That his government did not have any role to play in choosing Reliance as Dassault’s proposed partner in the Rafale deal
- That it was the Modi government which put forth Reliance’s name as part of its “new” and “official” formula
This is important, because the government has not denied putting forward Anil Ambani’s Reliance as a proposed partner, Scroll reported.